Cliff Doherty

Planning for all emergencies

Weather the weather brings heavy rains and flooding or hot, dry winds that elevate wildfire risk

Be Prepared is not just a Boy Scout motto.

Weather the weather brings heavy rains and flooding or hot, dry winds that elevate wildfire risk, the Shuswap Emergency Program has a plan for that.

“The Wildfire Management Branch is suggesting if we don’t get any rains in June, there’s a greater than average risk of wildfires,” says Cliff Doherty Columbia Shuswap Regional District’s emergency program co-ordinator.

The Shuswap Emergency Program (SEP) operates in the City of Salmon Arm, District of Sicamous and electoral areas of CSRD that surround Shuswap Lake  – South Shuswap, Falkland/Salmon Valley/Ranchero and North Shuswap.

“Our main role is not only responding when something happens, but also emergency preparedness,” he says. “Our biggest role is activation of an emergency centre.”

In the event an emergency operations centre  (EOC) is activated, there are roles for volunteers and government staff, along with police, fire and ambulance who will go to emergency centre to help support people working there.

“Our greatest effort is setting up a declaration of a state of local emergency and doing up the paperwork for an evacuation order,” says Doherty. “That’s the high end of what we do. At the low end, it could be arranging portable toilets or barricade – whatever the site requires.”

Emergency preparedness is another role SEP plays.

“I really think there is a need for the public to be better prepared,” he says. “For our part, the emergency program is right now exercising and training our staff just in case we need to set up an EOC.

SEP was in attendance at the Sicamous Safety Fair on the weekend and Doherty is very excited about a training exercise that will take place in Silver Creek on June 27 and will include Emergency Support Services (formerly Emergency Social Services) and CDART, the Canadian Disaster Animal Response Team.

“The premise is people being evacuated with pets… we just want to hone and practise,” he says.

An emergency evacuation course for the agencies and emergency program staff that would be involved in building an evacuation plan if needed will be held June 22.

“SEP is very much aware of the areas around the lake that have one main road in and one main road out,” Doherty says. “Evacuation planning does include the other alternatives to move people away from the area if that main road is blocked.”

For example, SEP officials have a 24-7 connection to the houseboat companies if that is a resource that is needed.

A workshop for personal and neighbourhood preparedness will take place at 7 p.m. June 9 at Shuswap Lake Estates. The workshop will last for about one hour, followed by another half-hour question-and-answer session.

Another Neighoburhood Emergency Preparedness Program (NEPP) will take place at 7 p.m. at White Lake Community Hall on June 10.

Doherty suggests interested citizens may find more information at the PreparedBC website.


For example, the PreparedBC: Household Preparedness Guide has information on such things as building an emergency kit, gathering items and identifying a safe meeting place.



Just Posted

Best in business: North-Okanagan Shuswap companies named top 10 semi-finalists

Small businesses from Salmon Arm, Vernon, Kelowna compete for top spot

White Lake firefighters go beyond call of duty with construction project

Storage shed built for sports equipment in South Shuswap park

Opening date for popular North Shuswap outdoor ice rink delayed

Warmer temperatures have pushed back the openings of several rinks in the region

New safety measures in place as snowmobile season gets underway in Sicamous

VHF radio channel posted at trailheads, assisted in rescue of stranded sledders

Homecoming marked by album release for Salmon Arm duo

A Million Dollars in Pennies to play Classic in new year.

VIDEO: More air-passenger rights go into effect this weekend

The first set of passenger rights arrived in mid-July in Canada

Sagmoen’s lawyer argues ‘abuse of power’ in police search

The trial of Curtis Sagmoen continued at the Vernon Law Courts on Friday

Swoop airlines adds three destinations in 2020 – Victoria, Kamloops, San Diego

Low-fair subsidiary of WestJet Airlines brings new destinations in April 2020

Aid a priority for idled Vancouver Island loggers, John Horgan says

Steelworkers, Western Forest Products returning to mediation

Navigating ‘fever phobia’: B.C. doctor gives tips on when a sick kid should get to the ER

Any temperature above 38 C is considered a fever, but not all cases warrant a trip to the hospital

Salmon Arm history in pictures: Cold snap!

Curling on the Little Lake.

Penticton resident allegedly has rear car tires stolen

The resident woke up today to find their back tires missing and their car on blocks

Salmon Arm dentist follows in family’s footsteps

Dr. Brandon Schiffner of Chu Dental made fellow of Pierre Fauchaud Academy

Woman struck, dog killed after collision on Highway 97

Speed is not believed to be a factor and alcohol has been ruled out

Most Read